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Ford Focus Sedan

L8_ApexL8_Apex Member Posts: 187
Welcome to the continuation of the Ford Focus -
Part 3
topic. Those of you joining us from that
topic are welcome to continue your discussion.

If you're new to this topic, you may want to
follow the above link for additional archived


Sedans Host


  • cnollkampercnollkamper Member Posts: 43
    I do remember a while back in part three, that the Focus is a very good snow handler. The ground clearance that the Focus has is better than many cars, and equal to many Suv's, so i think the only thing to worry about is tires. I recommend Bridgestone Blizzak's and i believe Dunlop has a very good snow tire, as well.
    Hope that helps, happy holidays to all!
  • glideslopeglideslope Member Posts: 37
    Tis the season. Ah yes, the snow and mistletoe.

    It truly is nice to see Foci Sedan owners posting in here with positive upbeat responses. You know, "Love my Focus, going strong after 800 miles!" "2000 trouble free miles on my ZTS sure am loving it" "This car has been flawless, 8,000 miles strong."

    I'll reason that most of these seasonal posts are first time Ford owners. Some how the thought of reading " love my Focus, still going strong after 60,000 miles." seems like something out of a Ray Bradbury novel. But heck, I'm just an angry Protege' owner. Prior to that I was an angry Toyota, and Honda owner.

    Must be an anti-Ford conspiracy.

    Happy Holidays,
    Mark. :)
  • bobk14bobk14 Member Posts: 17
    Can anyone answer the following questions which the Ford dealer and their customer assistance center could not?

    1) Does the Focus have a timing belt or a timing chain?

    2) The oil is required to be changed every 5,000 miles, but no time limit is stated. Is there a time limit as well as mileage?

    3) Does the transmission fluid have to be changed at 30,000 miles or only inspected at that time?

    4) At what mileage should the engine coolant be changed?

    This information is not answered in the maintenance book.

    Thanks for the replies and happy holidays to all.
  • floridianfloridian Member Posts: 219
    Glideslope: Ray Bradbury not withstanding we HAVE a 2000 Focus company vehicle with 72,000 on it and NO problems whatsoever. Will be ordering six more on Monday to replace the six 2000 Sunfires that have all started to self-destruct at 40 to 50K.

  • johnnystarxjohnnystarx Member Posts: 3
    We test drove a Ford Focus today. My 6'1" husband was uncomfortable with the head rest pushing his head forward. It is only adjustable up & down...won't tilt..couldn't seem to get it in a good position. This is enough to keep us from buying the car. Darn. Anybody else have this problem?
  • xyzipp2xyzipp2 Member Posts: 28
    Thanks to all those that have posted about snow. It is coming soon and I am not too keen on dealing with it. Your posts have gave me hope that the Focus will do well. Here's hoping.

    I am going to break my own pledge to ignore the negative posts. I am afraid that I can't let wanton ingnorance go to the wayside.

    Glide-- Who said you were just an angry Protege owner??? What was said is that you weren't a FOCUS owner. Hence, when it comes to credibly posting about the Focus...there is little. Are you angry? If so, I suggest counseling. As for not seeing posts about having 60,000 miles and still going strong: you have one now, and has it just slipped your mind that the Focus has just recently begun its second year of production?? How many people put 60,000 miles on their car in a year? I am guessing the only one would be company vehicles. So OF COURSE there isn't going to be such posts. Heaven forbid that people would post from their first hand EXPERIENCE and not from what they guess might be a problem.

    Hope everybody had a Happy Thanksgiving!
  • tu4tu4 Member Posts: 4
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
  • beatlesbeatles Member Posts: 5
    Well, I am pleased to report that my 5 speed ZTS performs well in snow (compared to a 91 Saturn coupe I had a few years ago...a similar fwd, 4 banger w/ abs.) I have about 11K on the thing; so far it's been trouble free AND my dealer has serviced it with no hassles. That's unusual in my experience. I consistently get about 33 mpg including 70+ mph daily commutes. As for the cold NE Ohio weather, the heater works quickly and evenly and the engine starts w/o drama. I'm a big guy so I was particularly impressed with the high, supportive seating. The head restraint, BTW, reminds me of the Volvo head restraints. This is much safer than a less obtrusive seat. This is very different than other small cars...it frankly reminds me of the position in my Chrysler Town and Country. (I do wish it had the heated seats the minivan has!) I'm a musician so the CD/radio quality is also a real plus. (BTW, don't use the automatic level control or peak limiter...it degrades the music slightly. I also like to boost the treble +3 for most music.) Hey, let's not get too emotionally involved with these machines. The car, though lots of fun, is just a tool, albeit, in my humble opinion, one that has worked extremely well for me!

    My 2 cents!
  • glideslopeglideslope Member Posts: 37

    No real need for the personal attacks. Remember, we are talking about an automobile here. Let's try and be adults.

    Mark. :)
  • xyzipp2xyzipp2 Member Posts: 28
    No personal attacks meant. Simply pointing out what I believed to be pretty obvious discrepancies. I asked what I thought to be pretty pertinent questions.
  • tallguy2tallguy2 Member Posts: 3
    I suspect that Protege owners lurk around here because they own a car that is an upstaged media darling. I'm a big guy and the Focus is as small and light as I want to go. So comparisons with the Protege are irrelevant.
    My 2001 ZTS has zero defects so far(1000mi). I continue to be more impressed. I keep expecting to find cheapness and shortcuts considering all the stuff that the car comes with and the price. But so far have found none. The best feature of the car is that it has the ride quality of a bigger car until the road gets twisty then it feels like a sports car. Ford really got the suspension right.
    I have a maintenance question also. Ford recommends 5-20 weight engine oil. I have never seen this oil in stores. Does anybody have any comments on this?
  • cnollkampercnollkamper Member Posts: 43
    I also was a little put off by the headrests, but i put them a little higher (one click up) and it seems to be better...try it.
  • cnollkampercnollkamper Member Posts: 43
    I forgot to mention my Zts is defect free 6900 miles now, since June 20. Only complaint has been a squeel from the brakes in the cold, only in the morning after start up. that is it....
  • haumanghaumang Member Posts: 9
    When I went in for wheel recall, the mechanic explained my squeaky brakes as the result of moisture between the brake pad (supposedly a side effect since they can no longer use asbestos) and the front disc. He said there is nothing to worry about.

    And I just passed 8000 miles this weekend and not a single problem. And NYC driving isn't exactly easy on a car...

  • diana13diana13 Member Posts: 5
    I have been waiting to receive my recall notice in the mail. I have not gotten it yet. I was wondering if I can bring it to my dealer and have them fixed before I get a notice??? Thanks for any help
  • haumanghaumang Member Posts: 9
    From, you can definitlely take it in before/ without getting the notices. In fact, I did just that.

    When I made my appointment, they just asked me what I was coming in for, so I mentioned the recalls.

    Hope that helps...
  • haumanghaumang Member Posts: 9
    I meant to write:
    "From my experience, you can definitely..."
  • cnollkampercnollkamper Member Posts: 43
    I did not get any recall notice either, but I took mine in for the 5k service and requested the recalls to be performed. But you can definately take it in anytime, call and make an appointment.
  • silyboysilyboy Member Posts: 90
    most dealers do not have a problem with it. however it is in your best interest to call ahead, have the dealer run your VIN # and then check to see if they even have the parts for the recall if your car is affected by it.....
  • wilson25wilson25 Member Posts: 5
    Had a light blue 4dr.Focus from Hertz with the SPI 2.0 liter engine and auto transmission for two days this month. Drove the car 635 miles in Nevada and Utah over those two days and was amazed at how comfortable I was. (I'm 6'3" and 230lbs.) Rock solid at 80MPH on the highway and yet very nimble around town. I was very impressed! Wish my '00 Taurus was as fun to drive.
  • diana13diana13 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks everyone, I'm going to call the dealer today.
  • hank73hank73 Member Posts: 3
    Greetings, all. I've driven a SE sedan since Oct (3000K) and still enjoy jumping behind the wheel each morning. No problems at all, though I have a couple of minor questions:

    First, there's quite a range in my gas mileage from in town (22-23) to highway (30+). Is this the numbers that others are experiencing?

    Second, audio volume jumps from 0 (none) to 1 (loud). Is there any manual adjustment?

    Third, has anyone else noticed that the passenger side door/window frame support creates a blind spot when at intersections?

    I just hope all the problems with this car are as minor as these.

    Best to all.
  • haumanghaumang Member Posts: 9
    Glad to hear that driving the Focus was such an enjoyable experience for you. They are very fun to drive cars indeed.

  • haumanghaumang Member Posts: 9
    Yes, I also get a wide gap (about 9 mpg) between what I get in most city driving and highway driving.

    I don't have the standard Focus stereo so I'm not qualified to speak on your stereo issue, but I have read a few others mention that the stereo does seem to go from off to loud in too few clicks/turns.

    As for blind spots, yes, the Focus has very thick pillars which can/do obstruct visibility at times.

  • pigloverpiglover Member Posts: 25
    I'm considering buying a Focus in a few months and haven't had a close look at the engine. Does anyone know how easy it is to change the oil filter (on the 2.0 engine)? I don't mind going under the car so long as the filter is easy to remove.
    Thanks for the info.
  • chase7chase7 Member Posts: 2
    This is my first time buying a car. Scared to death. I was ready to buy a Focus and then read a car magazine that said the Focus would have been rated best car of the year except for it's unreliability! But these posts seem to make it sound very reliable. I'm going to trade in my Ford Explorer (high mileage, afraid it will not be reliable much longer) and I zeroed it down to the Focus. Anyone, Everyone, HELP! Is the Focus reliable? A good choice?
  • cnollkampercnollkamper Member Posts: 43
    Reliable, absolutely. I dont think anyone here has had a car strand them, or be undriveable (with the exception of some isolated cruise control incidents early on). and as now you ve probably noticed there ARE happy Focus owners with no regrets, and that goes for ME my Sister, my friend,AND my other friend!!! Thats a lot of the same model with no problems in 7 months.
    As for the stereo, Is the AVC on or off? If its on it might make the volume seem to loud(it does raise the volume with speed) so if its on , turn it to a lower setting, or off. If you havent discovered this feature read the manual, or simply press the menu button until you find AVC+the higher the number that shows, the higher the volume will raise automatically.
    Hope that helps..
  • xyzipp2xyzipp2 Member Posts: 28
    Keep one thing in mind when factoring in the "unreliability" of the Focus. The year 2000 was the initial production year for the Focus in the states. The reliability problem that the magazines focus in on (no pun intended) seem to center around the recalls that the car had. Almost all, if not all of these were production issues, not quality issues. What you will see in this forum is that Focus owners, for the most part love their car and have had little or no trouble with it.

    They are a fun car to drive, nice to look at (unlike the Echo - thats one ugly car), and fun to own. There are some unanswered questions, as there are on all new models. If you want a proven, tried, and historically reliable car, don't buy the Focus. Get a Corolla or something like that. You simply can't get those things in such a new model. However, if you want a car that is cutting edge, superior styling, and a quality car that almost everyone loves to drive, the Focus is for you. Remember recalls do not necessarily equate to poor reliability. I am guessing that the 2001 model will have these recall issues ironed out.
  • haumanghaumang Member Posts: 9
    First and foremost, the Focus is a very promising vehicle. Buying a car is a crapshoot, sometimes we lose.

    That said, 2001 vehicles are a much safer bet in terms of staying bug free.

    I have a 2000 SE Sport Sedan (built in February) and I've yet to have a problem. I live in New York City - a place rough on cars - and I've had 8200 trouble free miles despite my poor driving habits - hey, is it my fault that my foot is so heavy :).

    If, god forbid, my car was totaled in an accident, I'd buy another Focus. In a heartbeat. I'm that impressed with this car.

    Anyhow, whatever you decide to buy, good luck with it!

  • gladicheckedgladichecked Member Posts: 93
    If you use quality parts but you can't put them together correctly you defintely have issues.
  • tallguy2tallguy2 Member Posts: 3
    Zip2 said it well. The quality of my 2001 ZTS gives me confidence that reliability is not going to be horrible. But if it is your number one priority the Asian makes are your best bet.

    If you are very practical minded, check out crash test results from Europe. The Focus did very well. The test is much tougher than in the U.S. After seeing what was left of a 2000 Honda Civic, I won't mind a couple of trips to the service center.
  • xyzipp2xyzipp2 Member Posts: 28
    For those of you looking at buying an economy car or just have nothing else better to do, I just happened across something that Edmunds has written about the economy sedans. They pitted nine of the small cars against each other and ranked them based on a number of different categories and subsequently ranked them. It was an interesting read. I would be curious to see what some of you have to say about it. The one that surprised me the most was the low ranking of the Toyota Corolla. Anyway, for those of you too lazy to find it for yourself (I would be in that category), here is the link: http://www.edmunds.com/roadtests/comparison/2000/economysedan/index.html

    By the way, If you are a Protege owner, you don't want to go there -- The Focus beat the Protege.
  • vocusvocus Member Posts: 7,777
    I rented a Focus LX on Friday and drove it a little distance. It had crappy power (but I expected that with the 110-hp engine) but everything else was okay on it. But I did not like the seatback comfort though. It seemed like it was bulging in all the wrong places.

    Anyway, I had driven it 51 miles when I hit a bump and the back end of the car felt like it was hopping around or something. It made the car feel like it was going sideways, and it wasn't even windy outside then.

    I took the car back to Enterprise and told them my situation. They replaced it with a Chevy Malibu and that was that.

    I did like driving the Focus though. It was a nice ride. I think I would have liked an SE Sport model better for its power and features though.
  • glideslopeglideslope Member Posts: 37
    I would give the Focus another year or two just to be safe. It usually takes Ford 2-3 years to learn how to build a car after manufacturing has started. I would say it would be a safe bet at the 02 model year.

    I'd say you will see credible consumer publications recommending it again at that point. It really is a nice automobile. It just that it's a Ford.

  • hotx3hotx3 Member Posts: 71
    Piglover and Chase7,
    THe oil filter (at least on the base engine) is behind the block and almost impossible to get off unless the car is on a rack. Figure on taking it to a shop.
    I noticed the blind spot just this morning. I'm told it goes along with the padded pillars mandated for crash protection.
    I drive a '00 LX and the only thing that's actually broken is the clutch spring. It rides great and has enough pep once you learn to spool it up a little. The doors squeak and a gasket popped off the rear door (easily fixed but annoying), so Ford had a few things to improve, but it is a great car to drive, and roomy besides. The engines are held over from the Escort, so there should be fewer problems there. I say, whatever you buy, enjoy it and let the dealer fix the snags.
    Re mileage, I get 30 mpg (mixed driving) all the time, but people I've talked to at the pump get the 24/30 spread with the auto/DOHC engine.
    ('00 LX, 8months, 8700 miles)
  • chase7chase7 Member Posts: 2
    All of you, thanks for your valuable input. I'm definitely going with the Focus 2001. It sounds like we are a match. Now, the car salesman.....
  • hkoenen2hkoenen2 Member Posts: 70
    No question in my mind on that one. IT IS NOT. With just over a year of ownership on mine and about 9000 miles, I have gone through several ABS brake sensors, a new transmission (auto), replaced the driver inside door handle and power actuater, problems with rear seat hinges, seat fabric, passenger door handle sticking, recalls, poor fuel economy just to name a few of the reasons my can has made 15 trips to the dealership.
    But I have only one of several million cars. On the other hand, Comsumer Report just gave it a worse than average rating on reliability in their 2001 book. I think that data is far more telling on the future of the FOcus.

    I for one will buy the extended warranty before my three years are up or sell the car prior to the warranty running out.
  • haumanghaumang Member Posts: 9
    Your experience hit upon some issues that a few owners have mentioned with the Focus.

    Some say that seats are very uncomfortable in the sedan over long stretches. I personally don't have this problem, but perhaps that's cuz I'm a little fella (5'6").

    Also, about the car feeling like it was going sideways; my only real issue with the way the Focus drives is the large amount of rear suspension travel. If your rental car was out of alignment (and I've come across more than a few like that) then this agravates the problem further. My wheels were out of alignment when I got it from the dealership - I had splash guards installed at the dealer and the the wheels ended up out of alignment - and, with NYC's bumpy roads, I had a similar experience to what you describe. Once I got the wheels aligned, though, the car drove great.

  • lgblgb Member Posts: 30
    My only real complaint. If you are going to use a Focus for long-distance commutes, rent one from Hertz for a long test drive ! P>S I'm a shortie too!
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Member Posts: 765
    Then again, I shop in the Behemoth section of the store. In fact, there were only two things I didn't like about the two Foci I sampled:

    1) They smelled funny (a Ford preservative?), though obviously the scent wouldn't persist. (The older of the two had 500 miles on it.)

    2) No way to get both CD and cassette into the dash.

    Maybe I would have thought differently had I taken one up to Bangor for the week, but this is an awfully small list of gripes, especially considering how much I complain about everything else. :)
  • ccrokeccroke Member Posts: 8
    Two nights ago my radio just quit on me. Driving home from work it just cut out on the highway. What is going on at Ford? This adds to the growing list of issues affecting my Focus. Almost all of the things hkoenen2 and hottx3 cite are affecting my car. Has anyone heard a thumping noise come into the car from the rear axle? It seems to originate from the rear left axle. I just paid off the loan for this car. I love the way it drives and the ride is superb, but I have a feeling the car will fall apart. I was not surprised by Consumer Reports findings. Given the chance to do it again, I would not have bought the car. My dealer still has to perform one more recall fix and replace my trunk assembly.
  • beatlesbeatles Member Posts: 5
    I specified Goodyear tires on the contract when I ordered my 2000 ZTS as I have had good experience with the brand over the years. (Don't ask me about the Firestone 500's that I had in the 1970s!) Unfortunately, last week I punctured the tire due to a road condition, and had to purchase a new tire from the local Goodyear dealer. Since I was currently just under 10K miles, I still qualified for their service contract. At $7/tire, it's a bargain as it would have covered the cost of replacement, and it includes rotations every 6K miles and flat repair. If you are currently running Goodyears on your Focus, and are at <10K miles, I would recommend going to your dealer for this cheap contract.
    BTW, your radio may not be working if you accidently released the front plate of the tuner section. Snap it back in place and the radio may work again!
  • cnollkampercnollkamper Member Posts: 43
    I had a little fuse problem the other night, for some mysterious reason ( I have a feeling it's because of the Aftermarket alarm)the headlight fuse went out. SO I looked around the fuse box for a less important 7.5 amp fuse to substitute with since it was nighttime, and ended up up using the one for the Radios power. Even though i removed this fuse, The radio still turned on (because of the 1 hr power on feature) but I had to press the power button, it wouldn't turn on with the ignition. I really don't know if this means anything to anybody , but its an experience I had.
  • hank73hank73 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for feedback about my previous mileage question.

    I also had reliability questions, having suffered with a first year '86 Taurus (anyone interested in this sure-to-be valuable future antique?), but I was won over by the Focus' tight ride and sharp look.

    I've only just passed 3000K, so I'll catch all the possible recalls at the 5000K servicing, but no problems so far. My kids like the soft, wood-like turn signal sound, which somewhat off-sets the startling auto lock noise. And the first time the seatbelt alarm I thought the Enterprise was going down in flames.

    Of course, the real test is how well it keeps starting and running, and what kind of shape it's in in three years.

    Best to all.
  • tu4tu4 Member Posts: 4
    I have a pretty low garage door and the motor of the door only makes it even lower, so when I drive in or out of the garage the antenna would be bent completely forward for a few seconds every time. So after maybe 20 times of this abuse, it snapped few days ago. The funny thing is I have no problem listening to the radio at all although I really liked the look of the antenna, similar to that of the VW new Beetles. And since I do need to park in the garage during winter, I see no point to get it fix soon. But I can't help to wish that the antenna's length is controllable like a lot of cars.

    My 2001 ZTS has just reached 1000 miles in a month with no problem except this which is really my fault.
  • jcu1886jcu1886 Member Posts: 39
    I too was the unfortunate owner of a 1986 Taurus. One problem after another, from the hubcaps always coming off to the body rust to a defective heater core to a leaking trunk. The thing was literally junk by 1995. I hope no one has the same luck with the Focus. My ZX3 is perfect so far (knock on wood).
  • paul116paul116 Member Posts: 15
    After only a few miles shy of 30000 in one year, my Focus is no longer mine. I traded it in on a Nissan at a huge depreciation. Never again will I buy another Ford. I wish the rest of you luck with your Focus.
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Member Posts: 854
    The Focus is holding it's resale better than the Ecorts and Contours did. I checked on used 2000 models and there are not as many former "rentals" of Foci as the other cars.

    Also, the old Escort 91-99, were not as bad as they are made to be. In my family there are 4 of them and they run fine. One lasted 110 K and only the alternator died at 90K
  • xyzipp2xyzipp2 Member Posts: 28
    First things first. Economics says that ANY car depreciates the most in its first year. However, I want to deal with the reason that you lost so much on your trade in paul. First, when you sign your name to the title, you don't even have to drive that car a mile and it is considered used. Any car automatically depreciates a significant amount when switching from new to used, regardless of how old a car is. It is common sense. Next, 30,000 miles is an inordinate amount of miles on a one year old car. I believe that banks and dealers expect to see about 15,000 a year, and anything over that is penalized. Thirdly, you used your focus as a trade-in. A dealer is not going to give you what the car is worth. If they did, they would be stupid. Economics 101 says, buy low, sell high. They don't give retail value, they give wholesale value. Huge difference. Any car (including foreign) when put in those circumstances (getting wholesale, high miles and only one year old)is going to show a big depreciation. It is common sense. The true test of resale is not one year after a car is made. That is absurd. Resale value is calculated over a number of years. Hence, I can't make the prediction that the Focus will hold its resale any greater or less than any other car one year out. It is ridiculous to try to postulate such a thing. I hate to say it Paul, but I think the reason you took such a big hit is because you made a very economically unwise decision. Maybe you hated the car that much. Who knows. What I do know is you can't blame the car for that. NO car is going to hold the same value or even close when put in that situation.

    Frankly, I am getting sick of this buy foreign or you are stupid mantra. Yeah Yeah, I know it has never been said in those exact words, but that is the prevailing thought for a few of you and it is annoying me to no end. We are told that foreign has a better build quality than the Focus. I have found that the Focus cuts fewer corners than the foreign cars do. Better stereos, better interior quality, and so on. Than there is the better re-sale. It is way to early to tell that. Better long-term reliability. Last I checked long term meant long term. That is over a length of time. Not just one year. All this foreign is better is carry over from 10-15 years ago when foreign was undeniably better than the American makes. However, the gap has been closed with a number of different models.

    I can almost hear the click of keyboards in response. "AHA, that proves it. You admit that American makes were inferior to foreign in the past. See...even you admit it." Back to Economics. Economics says that if there are two equally priced products that are similar in market appeal and one is inferior to the other, the inferior one will not sell. The maker of that inferior product has two choices. Improve their product in order to make it competitive or go out of business. Last I checked, the Ford Focus was outselling all the foreign makes. Well, I guess there can only be a few smart people.
  • diana13diana13 Member Posts: 5
    I live near Chicago where, today we have blizzard-like conditions. I am so proud of my Focus. It didn't slide once, and the ABS is great. I have no regrets about buying this car.
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